New Delhi, India [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] India’s Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources provided a recent update of renewable energy projects in India. The Ministry has brought new direction to their existing priorities, policies and programs in order to closely align them with the objectives of the Common Minimum Programme regarding rural electrification, energy security and world class infrastructure.The following, based on a broad press release from the Ministry, offers a snapshot of renewable energy projects in India over the past year and a half. Some facts and figures may have been lost in translation, so for more information, visit the link following this story. District Advisory Committee on Renewable Energy A District Advisory Committee (DAC) on Renewable Energy headed by the District Collector is being constituted in every district to oversee the implementation of renewable energy programs in the district, integrate these with other rural development programs and address barriers to the accelerated switch over to renewable energy. So far, around 409 DACs have been set up across the country and in the remaining districts the DACs will be formed shortly. Each has 14 members from heads of various departments, Bar Council, Rotary Club, Nehru Yuva Kendra and two representatives of Members of Parliament. Besides 6 women members are mandatory in each DAC. Electrification of Remote Villages Under the remote village electrification program, a target of electrifying 5000 remote villages has been set for X Plan against which about 1944 remote villages and 594 remote hamlets have been electrified as on 31.03.05 since the inception of this program in 2001-02. A total of 403 remote villages/hamlets in 11 States have been electrified under this program during 2004-05 alone. Test Projects for Creating ‘Energy Security’ in Villages The Ministry formulated a concept of providing “energy security” in villages through biomass and other renewable energy sources. 24 test projects on Village Energy Security have been sanctioned during the year. Employment opportunities for about 25 persons per village are expected. On the basis of the outcome of the test projects, a full-fledged program covering remote villages/hamlets may be formulated. Rajiv Gandhi Akshya Urja Diwas Last year the Ministry decided to observe August, 20 – the birthday of the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi as ‘Rajiv Gandhi Akshya Urja Diwas’ every year as an annual feature in order to focus attention on the deployment of renewable energy systems and devices in rural and urban areas and in industrial and commercial establishments. On that date last year, over one million school children held rallies and spread the message of renewable energy in districts. Essay, quiz, debate and painting competitions on renewable energy were also held. A commemorative stamp was issued on this day by the Department of Posts to mark this occasion. Grid-Interactive Renewable Power The Ministry has set a goal of installing 10 percent of the additional power generation capacity in the country through grid connected renewable power by 2012. A target of 3075 MW capacity addition has been planned during X Plan period. Over 1200 MW capacity has been added through wind, small hydro and biomass power in the country in the last one year. This has been achieved by encouraging major investment from the market. Wind Power Program The annual wind power capacity addition touched a new height of 1000 MW as compared to an achievement of 615 MW during the last year. The cumulative installed wind power capacity has reached about 3500 MW. As a result, India now ranks in the fourth position in the world, after Germany, USA and Spain in wind power generation, thus overtaking Denmark. The first 2 MW wind turbine was installed at Chettikulam, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, which is the largest unit size installation in Asia. Standalone Renewable Energy Systems About 100,000 biogas plants and 16,530 solar photovoltaic lighting systems were installed during 2004-05. Biomass power projects aggregating to 140 MW capacity were installed, which have created large number of employment and income generation opportunities, especially in rural areas. In addition, 100 percent producer gas operated engine was developed and deployed in several villages for rural electrification. Solar Thermal Energy Over 150,000 square meters of collector area has been installed in the country for solar water heating in domestic, industrial and commercial sectors making the cumulative installed collector area over one million square meters. A solar steam cooking system consisting of 20 dishes of 12.6 square meters area each has been commissioned at Global Hospital and Research Centre, Mount Abu. The system produces around 1200 Kg. Of steam every day which is being used for the purpose of cooking, sterilization and laundry. Energy Recovery from Urban and Industrial Wastes A 1 MW power plant from cattle dung has been commissioned in Ludhiana. Another plant for generating 3 MW power from palm oil industry waste has been commissioned in Andhra Pradesh. Both the plants are the first of its kind in India and will lead for installation of more such plants and waste utilization. New Initiatives Major thrust is being given towards – research, development, demonstration, commercialization and deployment of new and renewable energy systems/devices for transportation, portable and stationary applications for rural, urban, industrial and commercial areas. Alternate Fuels for surface transportation including electric/hydrogen/hybrid vehicles. Bio-fuel is being developed for motive power for stationary/portable applications. A steering group, set up by the National Hydrogen Energy Board, under Shri Ratan Tata, is about to prepare final action plan for public private partnership and the road map for hydrogen energy. A new component of cow dung based power plants have been introduced in the biogas program.